If Ever I Should Love You

I was going through my various writing folders, when I stumbled across an old paragraph I wrote about what I was looking for in a relationship. So much has changed since I wrote it. When I did, I still thought I was straight. I assumed it would be a man I would spend my life with. I assumed I would be monogamous. I assumed I would have a normal life; I didn’t yet know the extent to which disability would play a role in my life, or the hardships I would face as a result of systemic ableism. I still thoughts that my wedding would look like two people standing together in a church because they believed it would be witnessed by a god.

I first wrote that post over ten years ago, then modified it somewhat before meeting Alyssa, after I had been dumped by my partner of two years.

That relationship had taught me about the need for common interests. I realized then how important to me it was to be able to have different conversations with my partner: about books, movies, social issues, politics. To be able to share stories and discuss different aspects of them and different things that stood out to us. To be able to share knowledge about interests we might not share but find interesting because of our partner’s interest and to have the same courtesy returned.

Seeing that post at this time, while I’m still processing the dissolution of my marriage and the myriads of revelations after the fact, I considered writing a new post. I ran this idea past my therapist and she strongly encouraged me to do so as a step towards determining what it is I want and how it differs from what I had/thought I had.

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If Ever I Should Love You
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My Time is Not Yours to Waste

I just wanted to go to the store, to pick up some things I needed. I decided to take my wheelchair. I won’t lie, I wanted to hatch some Pokémon. I also wanted the chance to browse the hardware store for some odds and ends I need to finish up my room. It was a treat for myself – getting the chance to explore the store more than is otherwise possible for me. I even arranged to borrow a bus pass.

Earlier this week, the temperature dropped and I am still adjusting to the sudden cool air. Additionally I hadn’t really taken into account how the speed of the chair, adds some extra wind to the chill. Either way, I made it to the station, and awaited the weekend bus.

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My Time is Not Yours to Waste

Throwback Thursday: Hands On Pathology

In grade 11, my school gave top students a chance to participate in an enrichment program hosted by Queens University. We would be living for one week on the campus, sleeping in dorms, eating in the cafeteria, and taking a course that would give us some idea of the university environment.

Around this time I was still enthralled with the idea of being a doctor. Almost everything I did was with that specific goal in mind, so when I was offered the opportunity, I signed up for the “Hands-On Pathology” course. It was, or so I had heard, one of the most popular programs on offer, but I was lucky enough to get in.

Our week at Queens was amazing! My first view of the campus coincided with the sun coming out of the clouds and making the waters of the lake dance and sparkle. There were an assortment of after-class events you could sign up for, including astronomy or even just hanging out in the common room and watching a movie.

The class itself was incredible. We had experts come in and teach us about different aspects of pathology, including forensics, diagnosis, different aspects of medicine. The highlight of the class though had to be when we were brought over to the medical school and introduced to the teaching cadavers.

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Throwback Thursday: Hands On Pathology

Learn to Smoke Meat – Meet a Blogger

One of the tasks I set myself this summer was to get more involved with my local community. The stress of the last several years –  dealing with constant money anxiety, trying to find different ways of making money while managing my declining health, my declining health, the immigration process, the rapid and terrifying decline in world politics, – has had a significant impact on my mental and physical health.

Things got particularly bad last year when I ended up spending more than 3/4 of the year on steroids. I needed an outlet.

Ever since we moved into the neighbourhood, I’ve been coveting a plot in the Community Garden. During one of the walks I was taking with my new chair, I happened to run into some of the gardeners who have plots there. I mentioned this was my second summer of waiting, and they surprised me by letting me know that they had a plot available. That was the catalyst that led to me discovering the amazing programs that are happening right here in my neighbourhood.

One of them is a community Wood Burning Oven. Every two weeks or so, they build up the fire and they do a pizza bake. After that the fire is available for anyone to use to cook their own foods, including bread.

The whole group is really amazing, and I’m glad to be working and spending time with people so dedicated to creating community and building up community as well. They all do so much and have so much passions and caring, it’s just an amazing energy to be around.

One of the things they do is organize these great Community Kitchens: events where someone with a certain knowledge teaches anyone who is interested. The food, to a point, is paid for by a local community organizations, people get to try samples, and everyone gets to learn a new skill.

When they found out that I smoke meat, they were immediately interested.

Tomorrow, I will be breaking out the BBQ’s, and using them to teach people how to smoke meat. I’m also going to finally convert an old mini fridge I’ve had for 2 years now, into being a cold smoker! I’m really excited.

The event is taking place at the Bayshore Park Community Garden and Oven in Ottawa. It’s free to attend, just show up between 12 and 3.  I’ll be there working on the BBQ and possibly doing some art as well as time and weather and people who show up permit.

Come out and say Hello if you are interested!

 

Learn to Smoke Meat – Meet a Blogger

Homemade Polish Pickles!

One of my favourite things about summer is getting the chance to can and pickle various local produce for the winter. It’s a lot of work, but if done right, can give me access to less expensive, healthier, and more environmentally friendly food all year round.

I learned how to can and pickle from my mother. She used to do it every summer and, though not always willingly, I used to help her. I still use the recipes she taught me, though the specific measurements are what I remember and so may not be exactly the same. Some recipes I discovered and created myself.

Polish pickles are something I always want to do, but often only manage to do a few jars when I manage to do any at all. It’s a shame because these pickles, which are fermented and use no vinegar, are really the only ones I truly like and that don’t hurt my stomach.

They have a wonderful slightly spice taste, they’re salty, garlicky, and just perfect on a rye bread with some liverwurst and salami, and a slice of tomato. They’re also the base for Pickle Soup.

This year, through sheer iron determination and buying small batches of pickles at a time, I managed to can more than ever before. All told I currently have 19 jars of pickles, and I’m pretty sure I gave away 3 jars.

Some I canned the old fashioned way, but the rest I put through a water-bath canner. I’ve never done that before so I look forward to seeing what that does to the overall process

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Homemade Polish Pickles!

Dear City of Ottawa: Community Kitchens Help Build Communities

Dear Councillor Taylor,

I hope you are well.

My name is Ania Bula. I am one of your constituents living at the A_____ neighbourhood near Bayshore Park. This summer, the city has been working on updating the local Community Fieldhouse to better accommodate the needs of the neighbourhood. In consultation with local community organizations, the city was notified that our community would greatly benefit from having a full working kitchen, which in particular would include a separate handwashing station.  

It has recently come to our attention that the plans were modified by the city and that instead of the discussed kitchen, they are putting in a warming-kitchen only, which does not even include  the separate handwashing station. Continue reading “Dear City of Ottawa: Community Kitchens Help Build Communities”

Dear City of Ottawa: Community Kitchens Help Build Communities

Where Did Everybody Go!?

For the last several weeks, I have not been as consistent about writing as I have been in the past. This is not because I’ve run out of ideas. Quite the contrary. I have a list of posts I want to sit down and write.

The reason I haven’t been posting as much is because I’ve been hard at work trying to makeover my office. One of the barriers that I’ve been experiencing with regards to being able to get work done on writing – both blog and fiction, painting, sewing clothing, and so forth, has been a lack or organization in my office. Because of how many different things I do, it’s been hard coming up with a good way to store the various accoutrement that come with them. The result is that whenever I want to say, paint something, I end up having to pull out a bunch of stuff from various locations, which usually turns into a giant mess. The mess in turn grows bigger, messing with my concentration and with my executive functioning.

In addition, having stuff all over the place means that I often have to bend and lift in ways that I find uncomfortable and painful. It makes it that much harder to motivate myself to do a thing, since I know it will be preceded by moments of physical discomfort.

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Where Did Everybody Go!?

Ableism at Kanata Centrum Almost Killed Me

Today, I decided to take a break from the manual labour I’ve been doing, while trying to rebuild my office. I had a plan for the day: I was going to grab my wheelchair, take the bus down to the strip mall that has the dollar store, value village, and Michael’s that I’ve been wanting to browse for some time. With the chair, I would be able to actually take my time and look around the stores. Get to know what is really available, without the distraction of my spine starting to seize up and burn.

It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for travelling around the city. Being in the chair let me explore areas that I can’t see in a car. I found out that there is a great path down by the river underneath Carp Bridge. I was able to do some poke-hunting, and explore the park with the lakes down on Terry Fox. It was perfect.

I was heading back to the bus that would take me back to my own neighbourhood. I was hoping to relax a little under the stars in the park, before finally heading back home. Kanata Centrum is a big strip mall with several different sections, all connected by sidewalks. It’s also where I had to go to get to my bus. I was making my way along the sidewalks coming up to a road crossing. At the end of the sidewalk however, instead of the dip that serves as a ramp, it ended in a straight curb.
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Ableism at Kanata Centrum Almost Killed Me

Dismissed By People like You

CN Spoilers for Grace and Frankie, NSFW, Discussions of Sex, Consent, Mentions of Rape

Note: The bottom quote does not include some of the text, but has been edited down to contain the relevant parts of the discussion.

Grace: What are we doing? I’ll tell you what we’re doing. We’re We’re making vibrators for women with arthritis.

Frankie: Yes! Vibrators! Brilliant!

Grace: Oh, grow up. Older women masturbate too.

Frankie: And we have vaginas.

Brianna:  I highly doubt there’s a vibrator market for geriatric women with arthritis.

Grace: There is. I’m in agony.

Frankie: It takes a lot longer for us to get off, Sol.

Grace: She’s right. Our blood doesn’t flow as easily – and our genital tissue is more delicate. I did some reading. The more effort it takes to orgasm, the more you irritate it, and the more it inflames your arthritis. And I mean shouldn’t older women have it better than that?

Mallory: How do I explain to my children that their grandma makes sex toys for other grandmas?

Grace: I’ll tell you what you can tell them, honey. We’re making things for people like us, because we are sick and tired of being dismissed by people like you.

So ends the second season of Grace and Frankie. The line “We’re making things for people like us, because we are sick and tired of being dismissed by people like you.” Seems to me like a perfect summary of the first two seasons of Grace and Frankie. Nominally the show is about two older women relearning how to live on their own after their husbands leave them for each other.

More than that, the show is about two older women realizing the extent to which they have been taken for granted, and the extent to which women past a certain age get treated as invisible and irrelevant. The level to which women’s identities are subsumed into that of their families and especially their husbands.

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Dismissed By People like You

Thank You

[The wheelchair I’ve been using was a donation from the family of a woman who passed away recently. Although they could have chosen to sell the chair, or do something else with it, instead they donated it and made it possible for me to get one. I wanted to write them a note thanking them for their donation. I’ve edited out the name for the sake of their privacy, and using a stand in name in one place. Friends who read the letter suggested I post it on here for others to see and maybe help encourage other people to be generous with their inherited accessibility devices.] 

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Thank You